Dexter Demons Spotlight

Friday Nights Lights in small town New Meixco

Life in small town New Mexico is more than just winning and losing a game. Friday Night Lights is a way of life for the small community of Dexter, New Mexico.

Friendships are renewed, families are reunited and the talk of the town is all included with the best burgers and tacos in southeastern New Mexico for a pregame meal.

From players, to coaches, there is an intensity to do well and win. Dexter is competitive year in and year out since fourth-year coach Arturo Duran has taken over.

In his first year, Arturo lead the Demons to a state title and played in the semifinal game his second year. COVID-19 has strengthen the teams resolve to send their seniors out on a winning note.

Dexter has several key matchups this season with Texico, Hope Christian, Portales and NMMI. Those challenges have to be met if Dexter is to become 2021 champions again.  

The Perfect Surrounding

Dexter has several players wanting to play and cannot because of a torn ACL. Their desire to compete and be a part of something bigger than themselves, drives them to think and feel team first.

Dexter fine tuning the game plan before playing

For Dexter the last 10 minutes of running their offense under the watchful eye of coach Arturo Duran is key to their game preparation.

The Best Experience Ever

Life in small town New Mexico is showing up at 4 p.m., for Parents Night. The opening game of the 2021 football season.

It is a father and son standing by their car, with the father spraying his son and himself with mosquito repellent before walking into the game. It’s the same father picking up his young son, and hugging him as they walk hand in hand into the game.

It’s the band warming up on the track with their teacher, as they get ready to march into Demon Stadium for their game against Santa Rosa.

The town and school are so small, they have to share cheerleaders. The cheerleaders play the drums and the cymbals in the band. It’s not drumline, but there is a beat as they march into the stadium banging the drums and clashing their cymbals.

The kids in the band, may not make it state, but tonight, there is a groove as the crowd sways back and forth to the music. The kid in the band has his curls of hair sticking out from his hat, and matted against his forehead. His  glasses scrunch his nose as he smiles big enough to feel good about life and the moment. For these kids all is right with the world. The Dexter Demon band makes the young and old feel hopeful. All in the stands feel excited about the possibilities of life, as they play their notes while keeping stride with each other… left, right, left.

Friday Night Lights in Dexter, New Mexico, is coach Arturo Duran nervously watching as his players run through plays before they head into the locker room one final time before the game starts. It’s four officials standing with the ball in their hands, talking under the south end zone goal post.

It’s the warmness of the sun setting, as the Demons’ players stand with their left foot on the line, and their right hand crossing their heart as they stand erect looking straight ahead during the national anthem.

It is the sun with shadows crossing over the field to remind one and all that time waits for no one.

If you think this is the only game in town, you’re right, it is. It’s because this town is nothing but us against them. Dexter versus anyone and everyone.

These kids have grown up together from knee high to a grasshopper watching other Demons come before them, now their dreams are coming true.

They know the whole world is watching them: that all of Dexter is watching them.

Here in small town Dexter, that’s all that matters. Friday night is friends gathering at the fence to talk and eat one of the best burgers in New Mexico before kickoff.

It is old teams and players reminiscing about the opening game against Santa Rosa.

Emotions are moved to laughter and tears in the next two hours. World peace might not be solved tonight, but in Dexter there is peace in the world.

There is Dexter athletic director Joe Manzanares searching and finding a cord to get the scoreboard just  working minutes before kickoff.

This is the tradition of small-town football. Dexter is projected to be a powerhouse this season.

And in a couple of weeks will play rival Hagerman for the Battle of the Bridges. Friday night pregame is about the team gathering before the food pavilion and huddling together as a team one more time, before they go out to do battle.

It is then, the team pledge their support and faithfulness to each other for this game.

With each player looking each other in the eye and nodding their heads to each other; before running through a sign made and held by cheerleaders that says: “Sorry Lions, we are the Demons”.

Friday night in small town New Mexico is about an injured football player with a torn ACL, and a brace on his left knee over his blue jeans wanting to play so bad; he’s sprinting out to break through the sign first with a smile as big as the sun.

No matter what the night may bring, the Demons football team vows to stay together and bond as brothers.

To bond through missed assignments, being scored upon and injuries. It will be a bond that will carry them through future generations, through life and death.

One for all and all for one, no matter the outcome of the game.

It is during these times under the lights that bonds are made and built during the stress and struggles of play in two hours.

See, that is why those men at the fence gather before each game; to remember and remind each other of that commitment they forged years ago.

Adversity and struggle do that to people, regardless of age, race, economic status- sweat, blood and tears.

That is why you can never discount what Friday Nights Lights means to a person, community, school or team.

Win or lose, memories and bonds are formed for life, especially for the seniors. Friday Night Lights may be their last chance to be big man on campus- before real life begins.

It may be their shot at a scholarship to get an education and better their lives.

Friday Night Lights in Dexter, New Mexico, means more than just winning and losing on the scoreboard. Friday Night Lights means winning with family, friends and life.

Dexter defeated Santa Rosa 45-12 on Friday night